When I spotted this advert in the Dartford Express, I did not initially take much notice of the term Certified Midwife, but it was quite significant. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the medical establishment was keen regulate the training and practise of midwifery, and the 1902 Midwives Act outlawed uncertified and untrained midwives, although it was possible to be certified without formal training. It’s unclear what form of training Eliza Robey had, but she would not have been able to advertise for work without the certification. The fee of 10/6d may well have been beyond the means of some of the villagers, but perhaps she accepted payment in installments.
Eliza Robey and her husband James first appeared in the district in the 1871 census. Eliza was born in Oxford in about 1848, and her husband James was born in 1843 at Discot, and worked at the railway as a pumping engine driver. By the 1891 census, the couple had moved to 22 St John’s Terrace, Sutton at Hone. In the 1911 census, the couple are described as living at The Street (now Main Road), and Eliza states that she is a Certified Midwife. The 1918 electoral roll showed that the couple still lived at Andrus Cottage.
James Robey died in May 1919, and was buried in St John’s churchyard, and Eliza moved away to Lambeth at some point, and she died there in November 1927, but was buried with her husband in the churchyard. The couple had no children.